In the first of two title fights set for UFC 280 this weekend in Abu Dhabi, Sterling will look to successfully retain his 135-pound gold for the second time, having previously outpointed Petr Yan in the opening defense of his reign.
Looking to cut his bantamweight rule short, though, will be former two-time champ Dillashaw. After returning from a two-year suspension last summer with a victory over Cory Sandhagen, the 36-year-old Californian has a history-making third reign in his sights.
As with every fight set for the stacked UFC 280 main card, the co-main event has split opinion, with fans, fighters, and pundits debating over who will exit Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena with the bantamweight title.
The latest to give their thoughts on the matchup is a man who certainly knows a thing or two about competing in championship fights.
Chandler Backs Sterling To “Strangle” Dillashaw
During a recent appearance on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, Chandler assessed the chances of Sterling retaining his belt on October 22.
The lightweight contender, who has previously trained with the bantamweight king in New York, backed “Funk Master” to not only defeat Dillashaw this Saturday, but to finish him inside the distance.
“Man, Aljo looked awesome against Yan. When Aljo is able to close that distance and hit that grappling, that Serra BJJ, he’s so good, man,” Chandler said. “When you go back and you look at TJ Dillashaw’s body of work and his peak back when he fought Renan Barão, he was one of my favorite strikers to watch on the entire planet.
“We’ll see. I got Aljo in this one, honestly. I think Dillashaw’s gonna try to wrestle with him… If I had to go with a winner, I’m going Aljo. I think Aljo retains. I think he strangles him, I do. Dillashaw’s always had great cardio… so we’ll see,” Chandler continued. “His first title fight since what, three years ago? We’ll see how he performs. I think Aljo wears him down and strangles him.”
The buildup to UFC 280 has seen both champ and challenger express confidence in their ability to have their hand raised come fight night. But with the event just days away, talk will soon need to turn to action inside the Octagon.
Do you agree with Michael Chandler’s prediction for Aljamain Sterling vs. TJ Dillashaw?
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